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Lithops otzeniana (Living Stones)


Scientific Name

Lithops otzeniana Nel

Common Names

Living Stones

Scientific Classification

Family: Aizoaceae
Subfamily: Ruschioideae
Tribe: Ruschieae
Genus: Lithops


Lithops otzeniana is a succulent that usually forms small groups with 2 to 5 heads but occasionally with up to 25 heads. It is a very peculiar species easily distinguished for its translucent greenish-olive top with lighter, raised, scalloped islands around the edges. Leaves are up to 1.2 inches (3 cm) tall. Flowers are yellow with a white throat and up to 1.4 inches (3,5 cm) in diameter.

Lithops otzeniana - Living Stones

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USDA hardiness zones 10a to 11b: from 30 °F (−1.1 °C) to 50 °F (+10 °C).

How to Grow and Care

These plants develop a new set of leaves every year, with new leaves emerging in the fall and growing through the winter and into the summer. Lithops will go dormant in late summer, and water should be severely restricted to prevent bursting leaves. The flowers appear near the end of summer or fall, first showing up as a small bud forcing its way between the leaves, and growth will begin again. It's safe to water during this period. The leaves will still be growing into the winter, but you should stop watering, even as the older leaves shrivel up and encase the new growth. In the spring, it's safe to begin lightly watering again as the plant begins to grow again, heading toward its summer dormancy period and the emergence of new leaves in the fall.

Lithops are very slow-growing, small plants, making them ideal as houseplants (once you get the hang of their watering schedule). Older plants form attractive clumps of "pebbles" in their pots, which are highly prized. In general, plants should only be repotted if there are cultural problems (soggy soil) or the plant has outgrown its dish container, which will only happen every several years.

Learn more at How to Grow and Care for Lithops.


Native to South Africa.


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